If I was writing this three months ago the above title would read, “my skincare routine for VERY oily skin.” However, today, 83 days after I started taking Isotretinoin, better known as Accutane, my skin is the complete opposite. My once oily face is now the Sahara Desert. If I wanted to I could go days without washing my hair! I really need to learn to use dry shampoo.
After starting the medicine I noticed a change almost right away; within the first 5 or 6 days my skin went from very oily to somewhat dry and I knew it was going to get more dry as the days and months went on. The skincare routine that I had built for years to cater to my oily skin was no longer working and I knew I desperately needed to change things, as soon as possible.
Isotretinoin is a Vitamin A derivative at a high dosage that helps those who suffer from nodular acne. In short nodular acne can be, from my experience, frustrating, annoying, painful and consistent. My experience with it started almost ten years ago right as I started college and it has only seemed to have gotten worse over the years. Nodular acne, also called cystic acne, shows up as a bump thats rooted deep in the skin. Once I get a new breakout there is nothing I can do but let it take its course, which can take weeks to months from the initial breaking to it healing and clearing up. This form of acne can also leave long lasting scaring. Before I visited my dermatologist to talk about the possibility of taking Isotretinoin I did my research and knew that severely dry skin was the most common side effects. I then looked to my most entrusted beauty YouTubers, two of whom happened to be taking Isotretinoin, for advice!
As I found products I thought might be useful while taking the medicine I started to incorporate them into my routine one by one over time. I did not want add more than or or two products as a time in fear that my skin would have a bad reaction to a lot of new products at once. These are the products I found and worked into my routine.
My Routine –
Step One – I always, ALWAYS, wash my hands first, morning and night! Even during the day if for some reason I need to touch my face I always make sure my hands are clean.
I have been using these wipes for years now, I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t using them. I am able to use just one wipe to wipe off the initial layer of a full face of makeup, mascara included. More often than not I am wearing a full face of makeup when I use these so if that tells you anything then you should know it’s a miracle that I can take my makeup off with just one wipe. My face always feels fresh after using one.
Step Three – Equate Beauty Hydrating Cleanser
Everything in my routine is now suited for dry skin, and 9 times out of 10 it will have a variation of the word hydrate in the name. After talking with my dermatologist about the products I was using she suggested a hydrating face wash. After giving this a try I will never go back to anything but a hydrating cleanser. My skin feels refreshed and hydrated after each wash. This cleanser is comparable to CeraVe Hydrating Facial Cleanser and Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser.
Step Four – Garnier SkinActive Micellar Cleansing Water
I have very sensitive skin so I am always hesitant to add new products but after a lot of research and reading reviews of micellar cleansing water, I have just recently decided to add it to my routine. I use it to clean off any remaining makeup that might still be lingering after I’ve washed my face. So far I have had success with this product and it has not caused my skin to breakout from using it. I, personally, think it’s safe to say that it’s okay for sensitive skin.
Ever since I first discovered makeup and started learning about the importance of having a skincare routine I have wanted a facial cleansing brush, such as the Clairsonic or something similar. For years I survived without one, not wanting to take the plunge of having to spend over a hundred dollars. That was until one of my favorite beauty YouTubers had a discount code for Vanity Planet that dropped the price to only $39.99. Without hesitation I ordered the product and it has been the best investment, especially now that I have extra dry flaky skin that needs to be exfoliated more than ever. The brush came with three different head attachments, and a container to store them in. Two of the attachments have bristles, one a bit softer than the other. The two bristle attachments are the ones I use the most. To make sure I do not over exfoliate I use the attachment with the softer bristles and rotate the other in every few days. The brush has two speeds, neither of which is too fast or harsh for the skin. I would highly recommend this product for everyone, not only for those with dry skin needing to exfoliate but as a part of a skincare routine.
Step Six – Neutrogena Alcohol-Free Toner
This is the first actual alcohol-free toner that I have found, used and liked. Instead of my face burning or being excessively dry from the alcohol, it is left feeling clean and a bit hydrated. I’ve been told that a toner helps to reset the Ph balance of your face after washing it, which is why I’ve incorporated it into my routine. A couple of years ago when I originally wanted to have a toner as part of my skincare routine I tried witch hazel, hearing from several people that they had success and liked the product. I quickly realized that witch hazel was not meant for me as I broke out. This toner was definitely the route for me to take with my sensitive skin.
Step Seven – Equate Beauty Advanced Healing Ointment
Comparable to Aquaphor this ointment looks and feels like vaseline, very creamy and hydrating. The once oiliest part of my face, my T zone, is now the driest and I like to apply this ointment directly to that area, both morning and night.
Step Eight – CeraVe Daily Moisturizing Lotion
Before I discovered CeraVe products I was using Clean and Clear lotions geared towards helping to fight acne, but those began to make my skin dry out. I tried switching to a gel facial moisturizer but again, it did not work once my skin began to change from oily to dry. CeraVe, together with the healing ointment, keeps my skin moisturized throughout the night and day, even under my makeup.
Step Nine – Carmex Classic Lip Balm, Medicated Sunscreen
What I deem to be the most essential part of my entire skincare routine, lip balm aka chapstick! I constantly have to have this in a reachable distance, if I go even just a minute or two without it I can feel my lips burning with a fiery sensation from being dry.
This lotion is a lifesaver. I was given a bottle of it one christmas in my stocking and it has been my favorite body lotion since. I basically bathe in this morning and night. I had a couple of dry patches show up a few weeks into my medicine treatment and they disappeared in no time once I used this.
Weekly Face Mask –
This is another new product I’ve just recently tired, and so far I like the results. I’ve used it twice so far, once a week. When I do use it I apply it after step two and then skip steps three, four and five. I leave the mask on for about 20 minutes then rub the remaining product into my skin. The mask leaves my skin feeling cool and hydrated.
Overall I am satisfied with my current skincare routine and as long as it keeps my skin hydrated while on Isotretinoin I do not think I will be changing it any time soon. Through my success with these products I have recommended them to friends and family which got me to thinking I should share them with all of you as well. A lot of the products I’ve found and tried over the years have come from the reviews of others and my hope is that in sharing my experiences and reviews of these products you yourselves may find new products that work for your skin.
Let me know what you think in the comments. Do you use any of these products? Are there products that you would recommend?